The Australian share market rose modestly on Wednesday. The S&P/ASX 200 index rose by just 7 points or 0.1% after trading in a 35-point range over the session.

In overseas markets on Friday, key indexes in the US were mixed with the Dow Jones down 1.1% but the Nasdaq rose 0.1%. The European FTSEurofirst index rose 0.4%.

In Australia on Wednesday the 12 industry sectors were mixed. The Information Technology sector rose 1.7% but Property fell 0.9%.

Shares in Qantas (QAN) rose 0.5% on Wednesday. A Qantas 737 flight from Auckland to Sydney made a mayday call en-route but landed safely in Sydney. Better-than-expected earnings from United Airlines overnight also lent support to QAN’s share price.

On-line retailer Redbubble (RBL) has announced that it will cut costs and reduce staff numbers by 20%. This follows an increase in promotional activity last quarter that resulted in higher revenue but also lower margins and profits. Shares in Redbubble fell by 11.4%.


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Fuel retailer, Ampol (ALD), announced that the margin at its Brisbane Lytton oil refinery averaged $US11.75 per barrel in the December quarter, up from US$11.24 per barrel a year earlier. ALD notes “Fuels and Infrastructure (ex-Lytton) achieved a strong level of profitability.” Shares in ALD rose by 2.2%.

Nickel Industries (NIC) is in a trading halt as it enters into agreements to acquire interests in two producing nickel assets. NIC has announced a US$471m capital raise to fund the acquisitions. On Wednesday, 3.1 billion shares were traded, worth $6.9 billion. Overall 697 stocks rose over the session, while 605 fell and 446 finished unchanged.

In terms of economic data, dwelling starts fell 5.2% in the September quarter but work done rose by 1.5%. Dwellings under construction are at record highs.

In Australia on Thursday, employment data is released. BHP Group is expected to provide a quarterly production update.

In the US, data on housing starts, building permits and jobless claims are scheduled on Wednesday with the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index. Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard speaks. Netflix and Procter & Gamble release earnings.

Originally published by Craig James – Chief Economist (Author), CommSec